Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

Turkey has accidentally bombed US special forces in Syria

Report: US Special Forces Unit Under Fire from Turkish Shelling in Syria PM Imran assures Erdogan of Pakistan’s support, solidarity over Turkey's Syria operation
Jean Garcia | 13 October, 2019, 04:29

Turkish forces and their allies say they have seized control of the centre of Ras al-Ain, a key Syrian border town, after four days of heavy fighting.

On Friday, the Pentagon said United States troops came under artillery fire from Turkish emplacements near the Syrian border town of Kobani, 60 kilometres west of the main area of conflict, though none of its soldiers were wounded.

"They know exactly where US forces are", Milley said at a joint Pentagon news conference with Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Instead, Akar said, Turkish forces were returning fire on a position less than a mile from the post.

While Kaya said Turkey was preparing for an attack for months, Fleming said that the region would still have an IS threat even if the United States hadn't withdrawn and if Turkey didn't invade.

Iran, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has regularly urged Turkey to respect Syria's territorial integrity and avoid military action in north-eastern Syria. Some reports suggest 14,000 to 18,000 ISIS members remain in Syria and Iraq, including 3,000 foreigners, but a recent report by the inspector general of the Department of Defense said figures from experts greatly vary.

However, the Turkish official position is that their forces came under attack "1,000 meters southwest" of the U.S. post.

A Number 10 spokesman said: "He expressed the UK's grave concern about Turkey's military operation in northern Syria which he said could further worsen the humanitarian situation there and undermine the progress made against Daesh (IS)".

"Every kind of precaution was taken so no damage came to the USA base", he said.

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For his part, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir described the Turkish assault in northeastern Syria as "a blatant aggression on the Syrian sovereignty", warning that it might lead to the reappearance of IS militants and other terrorist groups. "We say this is what happens when a country goes into a war of expansion so callously and rapidly".

Arab foreign ministers demanded on Saturday, following their meeting at the Arab League (AL) headquarters in Cairo, an "immediate and unconditional" withdrawal of the Turkish troops from northern Syria.

Turkey began its onslaught against the Kurdish YPG militia, which it sees as a terrorist group, after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew some U.S. troops who had been backing Kurdish forces in the fight against Islamic State militants. Trump's announcement was widely decried by American lawmakers across the political spectrum as well as humanitarians the world over.

Although the USA has withdrawn the majority of its forces from the Syrian-Turkish border, a small number of troops remain.

The Turkish offensive began earlier this week after President Trump ordered the withdrawal of US troops from the border area, in effect giving his blessing for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to rout the Kurdish militiamen, who had served as the main fighting force on behalf of the U.S.in its mission to rout Islamic State militants in Syria.

Turkey dismissed the criticism, saying Syrian Arabs had been the biggest victims of the YPG, which it said had driven hundreds of thousands from their homes in areas it controls.

He warned that the Turkish operation was opening the way for IS to regroup.

He said the SDF was now fighting on two fronts - continuing to cooperate with the US-led coalition against Islamic State while also confronting the Turkish armed forces.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday that Turkey would risk "serious consequences" if it doesn't cease its attacks and - while announcing that Trump will sign an executive order giving his administration broad authority to hit the country with sanctions - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed that "we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to".

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